The move to Class 2A instituted a rivalry between Port Allen and Northeast, ranging from annual district games to a playoff showdown two years ago.
The Pelicans (2-4) travel to Pride on Friday to face the Northeast Vikings (2-5), a team that knocked PAHS out of the 2017 playoffs after the Pels beat them in the regular season. A 32-15 loss last year in regular season play against the Vikings added fuel to the fire.
“The biggest thing is that we want to continue to improve every week and most of all, come out with a win,” he said. “We want to keep our eyes on the prize –that being a district title – but it is a friendly rivalry and that has helped add something to the series.”
A possible playoff berth could loom for the winner in Friday’s game.
Port Allen’s main objective against Northeast will center on the continued improvement the team has shown, which stood out last week in a 32-14 win in the district opener against East Feliciana.
The game brought out what coaches have stressed most to the players throughout the season.
“It’s been all about making our players continue to believe in themselves,” Gibson said. “That gets tough when you fall into the kind of slump we had earlier in the season, but there’s plenty of football remaining.
“Our players have shown great maturity and they continue to work hard,” he said. “They believe in themselves, and that’s the most important of success. It’s a great testimony to the work of my coaching staff.”
The Vikings notched a 4-7 record and a playoff run, which started which ended in a loss to St. Helena.
Northeast faces the Pelicans on the heels of a 47-8 loss to Dunham.
Junior Darren “DJ” Taylor has taken over the duties at quarterback, while junior running backs A.J. Stokes and Braylon Welch anchor the Viking ground attack. Senior wide receivers Tyvion Wicker and Keilan Harrell could also pose a threat.
Prospects on defense will include senior defensive end Trevor Stovall, junior tackles Jeremiah Bradford and William Newman.
In other District 8-2A action this week, a showdown with championship implications looms Friday night when Episcopal collides with Dunham in a battle of 5-1 squads. The Knights head into action on the heels of a 62-8 rout over Capitol.
Elsewhere, Capitol hopes to rebound its loss last week when the Lions travel to Jackson to face East Feliciana, which is smarting from its loss to the Pelicans last week.